Determining whether deer move in the rain or not is a quite necessary and most frequently pondered question for the passionate deer hunters, photographers, or tourists during the rainy season.
It may seem that deer tend to hide during rain and come out of their shelters on a good weather day. However, the movement of the deer in the rain or extreme weather condition depends on several factors.
Hunters or photographers will surely need to find ways to go out of their camps and hunt or shoot deer in the rain. After all, there will be more than usual chances to hunt deer as there will be fewer hunters and more deer outside. Also, imagine capturing a moose deer wandering on a nice rainy day. Everyone would love the click!
Experienced deer hunters know that deer usually do not hide from the rain, but the severity of rain can incline them to do so. In this article, we will be discussing the deer movement in both light and heavy rain.
Do Deer Move in the Rain? Deer Hunting in 2023
Depending on different species of deer, the activities of deer on rainy days are slightly different. But the answer to the question “do deer move in the rain?” is generally the same for all deer. And that is “yes.” Now, dive into this article to know why we said “yes” to this question.
Movement of Deer in Rain – Light or Heavy Rain?
Drizzling or stormy rain? Lengthy or short-term? Rain accompanied by wind or no wind? These should be discussed before getting an answer to the question, “do deer move in the rain?”.
- Case 1: Stormy or Heavy Rain
Deer will for sure not be able to move in the unbearably stormy or heavy rain. They will find shelter as soon as possible and hide them in the forests between the thick trees in this case. They will remain in their shelters until the rain gets lighter.
- Case 2: Drizzling or Light Rain
As soon as the stormy rain turns into drizzling or light rain, deer will move in the rain and continue to roam around. But we can say that the amount of rain considered heavy or light rain is different for humans and animals.
Important Factors to Consider
It will be difficult to hunt for the hunters in some amount of rain, but the deer will be able to move freely. It will be no danger for them to move in the rain as there will be fewer or no hunters at all.
The rain considered heavy by humans might be bearable for the deer. This means that other factors also make the difference other than the density of rain. Well, deers are gifted with a metabolism that helps them bear the low temperature in winters or windy rains.
Moreover, they have fur all over their body to protect them from the cold. These traits let them move in the rain or cold comfortably, and they do not need to seek shelter from the rain. Even it facilitates them to go out and find something to eat.
Why do Deer Move in the Rain?
In the mild and bearable rain, deer might usually be seen more in outside places than in the sunny days. There are multiple reasons for that, such as deers will go out more in the rain because they feel safe from hunters in such weather.
- Deers can sense upcoming stormy rain. Therefore, they will move around in mild rain to look for food before the weather worsens as they will not be able to go out then.
- Another reason is that the noise of their movement in the rain is less as the leaves and grass gets wet and do not make noise if stepped over by deer or any other animal. Even if any noise is made by leaves or branches, it gets covered by the sound of rainwater.
- Most importantly, the noise and rainwater make the movement of deer vague for the hunters. They do not have to move with caution as there are fewer chances of being hunted down by the hunters.
- Unlike humans, animals and mammals have to go out to find food for themselves daily. They do not have the resources or capability to store food. They go out despite the bad weather conditions without any protective measures taken by humans.
- Rainy days are advantageous for deer; they can move freely in the rain outside.
Whitetailed Deer and Black-tailed Deer – The Difference
The different species of deer have different traits that develop according to the area or region they live in. Such as, whitetail deer move in light rain but tend to hide in the shelters if the rain turns into a storm.
On the other hand, the other species of deer, “blacktail deer,” have such traits that they can wander around even in heavy rain and can be seen outside.
Whitetail deer, mostly living in the areas across the United States of America can survive the winter weather conditions of those areas as their traits are developed by living in those areas for a long period of time.
On the other hand, blacktail deer living in the Western areas of California and Alaska are habitual of extreme rainy or cold weather. Therefore, they survive easily in the rain and do not need to find shelter.
Like various other animals, deer also naturally possess the trait to protect themselves from coldness or warmness. Their bodies undergo some changes that help them to survive facing bad weather conditions all along the year.
Along with the changes in weather conditions, the hair on the body of deer gets much thicker in winters and reduces to one layer in summer. These bodily hairs increase the absorption of sunlight in winters and protect them from the cold.
Alternatively, a single hair coat in the summer season reduces the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the skin.
Mule Deer Hunting In The Rain
Mule deer are a species of deer with whitetails with a tip of black color that differentiates it from whitetail deer having a white patch only underneath that can be seen when it raises its tail and visible dark color above.
Just like whitetail deer, light rain is not that much of a problem for mule deer. They move in the rain and continue to search for food. But in the storm, they need to find shelter from the rain. As soon as the rain gets lighter, they go out to find their food. This means that they can be seen before and after the storm or heavy rain more than usual.
All whitetail, blacktail, or mule deer daily activities are not disturbed or changed by light rain. In fact, they go out and enjoy the drizzling. But heavy rain or storm forces them to look out for shelter.
Hunting Deer in the Rain – Things to Consider
It might sound weird, but hunting in the rain can be very beneficial for the hunters.
- The ability of deer to hear and smell in the rain reduces, and it becomes difficult for them to spot danger. This can give a chance to the hunters to find and hunt deer easily.
- No doubt, It will be difficult to get out of camp and go hunting in the rain and wind but keeping necessary items for protection from weather and things needed to trap the deer will be enough.
- You should avoid carrying heavy baggage with you. Instead of waiting for the weather to get better, you should go hunting in the light rain that is not problematic compared to storms. Hunting right after the stormy rain also increases the chance of finding more deer than usual, as the deer will come out of their shelters right after the rain stops to search for food.
- Most of the hunters will be inside their camps during the time of rain, so you should try hunting in the rain. The light rain does not bother the deer, so you take advantage of them being outside. With few or no hunters around, you can be the one to succeed at hunting the most in the rainy season.
- Deers feel safe on rainy days, so they will go out and move freely in the rain. This will be a chance for you to make a little effort and get a deer.
However, it will be difficult for you to find deer in the windy storm even if they are outside. So it’s better not to even try and waste your energy in storms. The main thing is that if you are a hunter, you should keep a check on the weather conditions and learn the techniques suitable for hunting on rainy days. You should wait in the camp until the storm passes.
So, as soon as you find out that it’s going to rain lighter. You should pack your bags and get ready for a big opportunity waiting for you outside in the rain. Do not think of rain as a barrier to hunting a deer; instead, train yourself and convert it into an opportunity because “yes” deer do move in the rain.
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Additional Common Questions
Is hunting deer in the rain a worthwhile endeavor?
In my personal experience as a seasoned hunter, I would say that, without a doubt, hunting deer in the rain can certainly be worthwhile, but it always depends on the intensity of the precipitation. When there’s a light drizzle falling, not only does it not impair the hunt, it can even enhance it by dampening sounds that would ordinarily be noticeable to deer. In contrast, a heavy downpour is apt to result in deer becoming quite inactive.
I have often found it useful to keep an eye on weather forecasts. Deer, in their unique, instinctive way, prepare for bad weather by eating more before the storm hits and then once again after the rain has stopped. As a hunter, focusing your efforts near food sources before and after a heavy downpour can significantly increase your chances of a successful hunt.
Do deer remain active in rainy weather?
Based on decades worth of observations, I can affirm that rain doesn’t dramatically influence deer activity. It may shift the hours when they are usually active, but the need to feed keeps them on the move despite the rain. Remember, deer are creatures of survival and won’t let a little bit of rain interfere with their basic necessities. Deer will continue to go about their regular routines as soon as the rain ceases.
What’s the likelihood of deer movement during a rainstorm?
According to wildlife expert Drury, there’s a pretty straightforward correlation: the heavier the rainfall, the less likely deer are to move. Yet, during a light shower, they are more likely to be on the move. I have found this to be true in my own hunting experiences. In fact, I’ve noticed that any bout of light rainfall can be incredibly beneficial to a hunt.
However, a different window of opportunity arises once a heavy rain event ends – it's noticeably abundant in deer activity. It seems this rise in activity could be down to deer that have been hunkering down during the rainstorm becoming hungry and eager to move about again.
Can deer pick up your scent when it’s raining?
One interesting aspect of hunting in humid conditions is that humidity aids in odor detection. But what happens when it’s raining? From my own hunts and experiences, it appears that rain has the opposite effect – it washes away scent molecules. This appears to make it much harder for a deer to wind a hunter, especially from a distance. I’ve bowhunted in the rain numerous times, and it seems that when I’m more than 30, 40, 50 yards away, deer have a significantly harder time picking up my scent.
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